From the Japan Times:
Even though these visitors contributed an estimated ¥2.1 billion to the local economy and generated 260 jobs on an island struggling with depopulation, word that a plot next to a Maritime Self-Defense Force facility is occupied by a lodge that houses mostly South Korean fishermen has irked local residents and conservative politicians.How convenient that JT leaves out that the Taemado claims were nothing more than a retaliation for Takeshima Day proclamations by Shimane Prefecture and nothing more. Unlike Japan's persistent claims of rightful ownership of Tokto/Takeshima, the ROK government holds no such position on Taemado/Tsushima.
"Although the MSDF says the presence of the lodge does not present any problem with its activities, we feel as if we are being kept under surveillance" by the South Koreans, said Masayoshi Matsui, who heads the local chapter of the Japan Conference, a group of conservatives.
The purchase of the land in 2007, which was originally owned by a Japanese pearl farming company, was made in the name of a local Japanese resident and it did not cause any legal concerns as the area was not under city zoning rules, according to the Tsushima officials.
That's not how the islanders and conservative politicians see it, however, pointing to an ordinance passed in March 2005 by South Korea's Masan Municipal Assembly. The ordinance designated June 19 "Daemado (Tsushima) Day," and claimed the island as South Korean territory.
The municipal assembly in the South Korean southern port city said the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the last dynasty on the Korean Peninsula, dispatched its navy to conquer Tsushima, which was said to be a base for Japanese pirates, on June 19, 1419.
The total land area known to be held by South Korean entities accounts for only 0.007 percent of the island, but those alarmed by the move see these places as possible bases for spies and guerrilla infiltrators.
Nevertheless, it does provide a convenient excuse to rouse the nationalist troops, not unlike how Japan's various Tokto declarations do with Korea's nationalists. [And this would be a good time to point out another difference between Japanese nationalism and Korean nationalism: the latter has never led to invasion of another country, well except maybe the South by the North.]
Eriko Yamatani, an Upper House Member with the Liberal Democratic Party, has been calling for special legislation on Tsushima to restrict land sales to foreigners and to introduce measures to boost the local economy without heavily depending on South Korean tourists.
She heads a Diet group seeking to protect Japanese territory.
The Marmot's Hole has in the past brought us stories about Tsushima officials trying to attract South Korean buyers, but he later pointed out problems (here, here, and here). I covered part of that here.
My guess is that most Tsushima people find these folks annoying, and perhaps even detrimental to their economic needs. The South Koreans, after all, are bringing tourist dollars and infusing the local real estate market with cash. Tsushima, as just about any Japanese person will tell you, is an isolated backwater. Indeed, South Koreans are providing a well-needed boost:
Tsushima officials take a more sanguine view. They continue to promote the island as a tourist destination to South Koreans, hoping to raise the number of visitors to 100,000.Ah, the silliness from both sides that provides obstacle after obstacle to good relations between these two countries that should be close allies and friends, à la France and Germany.
Kenichiro Motoishi, head of the city's tourism and industry promotion office, pointed out that the central government has tried to support the economy of remote islands to maintain the country's territorial integrity since the 19th century, but has failed to do so because of its weak financial base.
"If (tourists) spend money here, we don't care if they are Japanese or South Koreans," Motoishi said.
"We cannot overlook transactions concerning national sovereignty, but otherwise they are welcome. What's the difference between the Korean property purchase and the Japanese acquisition of Rockefeller Center?" Motoishi said, referring to the outcry in the United States over the purchase of the landmark building in New York in the late 1980s by Japanese real estate developer Mitsubishi Estate Co.
Won't someone please think of the children?! Just shut up and go fishing. [HT to Wangkon by email, though I had already seen it.]
* I was hungry when writing this at the Apple Store, anticipating an açaí bowl, hence turning zainichi residents into zainichi restaurants. But it works, because it is zainichi restaurants that are feared to serve as conduits of cash for clunker regimes. And pachinko parlors. And probably some other businesses. Not that most zainichis are propping up Kim Jong-il, just a few. Sadly, I didn't notice the error until after The Marmot linked to this.